We all got a pretty good scare last Sunday when we saw Aaron Rodgers’ knee bend backward and then leave the field shortly after. Rodgers came back out and led the Green Bay Packers to an epic, by-the-skin-of-their-teeth comeback over the Chicago Bears. But we left uncertain as to whether or not he would be on the field for an even tougher test in the Minnesota Vikings next week. Aaron Rodgers has stated that he is going to play and the NFL odds have the Packers as 1.5-point favorites over Mike Zimmer’s Vikings’ in week 2 because of it.
Vikings vs. Packers
Both teams put up 24 points in their week 1 affairs, but the Vikings’ defense has proven to be more stout. They held Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers to just 16 points. Despite the score, they gave up 237 passing yards to Garoppolo, whereas the Packers secondary only gave up 171 yards to Mitch Trubisky. Despite having the top-rated defense, the Vikings might be a little bit vulnerable to the passing game.
The Packers — mostly Rodgers — passed for 301 yards, while Capt. Kirk Cousins put up 227 through the air. Something to note is that the Vikings got 11 more plays off than the Packers in their week 1 matchup, so they were playing a game of pace. But despite running 71 plays, they produced less than a yard per play than the Packers, 4.83 to 6.27. More striking is the yards per play on the other side of the ball. Minnesota gave up 5.4 whereas the Packers only gave up 4.5. Defensively, the Packers only gave up 17 points. Seven of those came thanks to linebacker Khalil Mack and his Deshone Kizer pick-6.
The Bears played surprisingly well. Khalil Mack showed exactly why he is worth every penny as an elite edge rusher by giving the Bears not only points on the board, but his strip-sack as well.
The Vikings will spread the ball out better. With Dalvin Cook, the Vikings have the ability to put up a 100 rushing yards as well as pass the ball effectively. But their offensive line allowed the San Francisco defensive front to hurry Kirk Cousins all game. This could spell trouble. The Niners have the 22nd ranked defense in the league, while the Packers are close to the top-10 with the No. 13 defense. And even though some say the 49ers have a top-10 offense, it is nowhere near as potent as an Aaron Rodgers’ led Packers team.
Offense vs. Defense
This is a classic case of great offense vs. great defense. They say that defense wins championships, but that hasn’t worked out for the Vikings just yet. Can they get a win in Lambeau Field?
This will be an epic battle between division rivals, but the Packers will come out on top at home in a game where defense will bear more important than offense for both teams.
Prediction: The Packers will win 24-17